The sheikhs triplet baby.., p.37
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       The Sheikh's Triplet Baby Surprise, p.37

         Part #3 of The Sheikh's Baby Surprise series by Holly Rayner
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  Daryl only had eyes for Hassan, and was taking long strides in their direction. “Thought you’d get away with robbing me, Sheikh?”

  Hassan grinned, fearless, and Morgan wished she could feel the same. Her heart was pounding in her ears, and she forced herself to calm down. The situation would not improve by her panicking.

  “I did, and I think I still will, once Carlos here gives me the money I’m owed.”

  “That money belongs to me,” Daryl hissed, placing a hand on Carlos’ shoulder. The poor man nearly jumped out of his boots. “Get my money, Carlos. Now.”

  Carlos scurried back behind the bar, and Morgan wondered if he would actually come back with money or simply abandon the place altogether.

  Daryl’s gun was still pointed at Hassan, as was his deadly stare. He didn’t even notice Morgan sitting an arm’s length away from him.

  “I trusted you, Sheikh. I treated you like a brother.”

  “Which must explain why you don’t have any siblings left. Working for you is enough to make anyone run for the hills.”

  “So you admit that you’re a coward?” Daryl spat, wanting to bait Hassan.

  Hassan shrugged coolly at this. “As much as any man, I want to stay alive. I just realized my chances of doing that would be greater if I disassociated myself from you. ‘Disassociated’ means ‘get the hell away from you’, by the way.”

  “I know what it means!” Daryl shouted, though Morgan had her doubts. She could feel his patience waning. His grin turned cold. “I’ve been waiting for far too long to shoot your ass down.”

  Daryl took another step forward, and Morgan seized her chance. Kicking a leg out, she tripped Daryl, causing him to fall forward onto the dirty wooden floor. Hassan jumped on top of him and Morgan rose, standing away from the melee as Hassan and Daryl struggled on the ground, fighting for control of the gun. As they twisted around, a shot rang out, before Hassan slammed a punch into Daryl’s face, knocking him out completely.

  As Morgan looked around for where the gunshot had landed, she slowly realized a pain erupting in her side. Glancing down, she watched in horror as blossom of blood began to flower against her shirt, above her hip. She pressed her fingertips to the wound, a fresh streak of blood coating her fingertips.

  “Hassan?” she whispered, glancing up from her wound to see him tossing Daryl into a corner of the bar.

  When he met her gaze, his eyes darkened with fear. “Morgan!” he cried, rushing to her side.

  Her knees buckled then, and as she landed in his arms the last thing she remembered was the sight of his face before the world turned to black.

  FOURTEEN

  Morgan was sitting in a field of bright green grass. The landscape was lush and beautiful, and it stretched out as far as she could see. Glancing up, the sky was an ethereal shade of blue, and she realized she was sitting under a tree. A man was approaching from a distance, and she watched quietly as he grew closer and closer.

  It was Morgan’s father.

  “Hi, pumpkin,” he said as he reached the tree, taking a seat next to her.

  “Am I dead?” Morgan asked, remembering suddenly that she had been shot. She wondered what had happened, and if Hassan was okay. And the baby!

  “Don’t worry, everything’s fine. You’re not dead, Morgan. You’re just dreaming.”

  It felt so good to hear her father’s voice again. Morgan wondered how real this was, but suddenly didn’t care. It was a real as she wanted it to be, and that was that.

  “It’s good to see you,” she said, smiling.

  He smiled back at her, placing a gentle hand on hers. It felt so warm, so real.

  “I’m always with you, sweetheart. Never far off.”

  “Except when you’re haunting Mom, right?”

  Morgan’s father grinned. “Yes, only except then. How are you feeling, honey?”

  Morgan reached down and touched the place above her hip where her gunshot wound would be. Nothing was there—no mark or blemish.

  “I feel fine. Why?”

  “I want you to remember this feeling. You’re going to wake up soon, and it’s going to hurt a little.”

  “Dad?”

  “Yes, sweetheart?”

  “Is my baby going to be okay?”

  Her dad winked at her then, in that way he always did. “She’s going to be just fine.”

  Morgan’s eyes lit up as she stared at her father. Placing a gentle hand on her belly, she looked out across the field and thought she could see the profile of a little girl in the distance, but she couldn’t be sure.

  The child began to move further away, and Morgan’s father stood, brushing invisible dirt from his jeans.

  “You’re doing a good job, Morgan. Keep up the good work,” he said, turning to walk away.

  Morgan could hear a beeping noise in the distance, and knew her time was about to be up.

  “Dad?” she asked, and he turned back to face her. “Thank you, for teaching me to live my dreams. I took this job because of you—I wouldn’t have done it without your example.”

  “Sure you would have. You’re a smart kid,” he replied with a grin, turning around again.

  Morgan began to feel a pain in her side, and she pressed a hand to her wound. Her fingertips were stained with blood again, and she gasped.

  Morgan opened her eyes. The hospital room was sterile and white, a single window allowing afternoon light to pour through onto her face.

  Peering around, she took in her surroundings. She was propped up on a pile of pillows in a hospital bed, surrounded by beeping machines and wires. Glancing down at her hand she saw an IV attached to it, tying her to a fluid bag. She took another breath, and pulled the blanket back a little to take a look at her side.

  Beneath her hospital gown, her wound was patched up with a large piece of gauze and tape. Pulling the dressing back a little, she observed the stiches there, before replacing the bandage. It looked like a clean wound, just along her side, and far away from her womb, luckily. Still, Morgan felt a twinge of fear for her baby after being involved in such a high-stress situation. No matter what happened in her dreams, Morgan lived in the real world. She needed to know what had happened.

  Hassan walked in then with a cup of coffee in his hand. He glanced at her and did a double take, finding her awake for the first time in hours.

  “Morgan! Oh thank God!” he rushed to her side and took her IV-free hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. To her surprise, Morgan saw tears glistening in his perfect eyes.

  “The baby…” she said, the question written on her face.

  “Is absolutely fine,” he said, and Morgan released a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding. She smiled then, but Hassan didn’t return the gesture.

  “What’s wrong?” she asked, trying to fight the grogginess clouding her mind. She longed to get up and walk around, to join the living again, but Hassan’s tears and frown held her in place.

  “This is all my fault,” he whispered, lowering his head. “I should have left you at the motel, and come back after the job was done. I should never have gotten involved with Daryl in the first place. I was stupid, and I almost got you killed.”

  “If I hadn’t been there, you would be dead by now,” Morgan said coolly.

  “You don’t know that,” Hassan replied, holding her hand as tight as he dared.

  Morgan lifted an eyebrow. “Yes, I do,” she said, and Hassan gave her a small grin.

  “Maybe a part of me wanted you there for backup, just in case. After all, you’re a former police officer and a damn good detective. I would always prefer to have you by my side…but not like this,” he said, his grin melting as his thoughts returned to her condition.

  Morgan gave his hand a reassuring squeeze. “No one can control the actions of the deranged, Hassan. Tell me, what happened to Daryl after I blacked out?”

  Hassan’s expression hardened, and he stared out the window. “I called Carlos back out from his hiding place in the back and told
him to call an ambulance. Told him I’d let him keep the money, but if he wanted Daryl out of his life for good he’d have to find a cop that wasn’t corrupted by the guy. Carlos said he knew just the man to call, and I left him to it. From what I’ve heard since, Daryl was sent to jail in Lubbock. I don’t think he’ll be getting out of there any time soon—one look at that guy’s record and the scale of his operation is going to be pretty obvious.”

  “So you’re saying we beat the bad guy and I solved my missing person case?” Morgan said with a grin.

  It was good to hear that justice would be served—hopefully. Morgan knew enough about the police force to know that everyone came with a price. If Daryl had enough money, he might be loose on the streets again, but hopefully that wouldn’t happen for a very long time.

  Hassan gazed back into Morgan’s eyes, placing a gentle hand on her belly. “You two all right?” he asked.

  Morgan smiled then, a real smile. “We will be. We’re fighters, this little nugget and I. Bullets can’t keep us down!”

  Hassan laughed, letting his guilt go for the moment and leaning in to kiss Morgan. She held a gentle hand against his face, relishing in the peace that she had been seeking for so long.

  “I love you,” he said finally, breaking off the kiss and staring deeply into her eyes.

  Morgan gazed back into those brown depths, looking at a man that she both knew and didn’t know all at once. Life was so crazy, and it made almost no sense, but facing death had a way of clearing up many things. Life was short, and could be taken in an instant.

  “I love you, too,” she said, resting her forehead against his.

  They enjoyed each other’s company for the rest of the afternoon, Hassan leaving only briefly to grab dinner for them both. They watched movies and laughed together between doctor check-ins, knowing they’d be cleared to depart the next day, headed for the rest of their lives.

  Or so they thought.

  FIFTEEN

  Later the next morning, Morgan was finishing her packing, her bag full of little toiletries she had stolen from the bathroom. Next to the bag was a little ultrasound picture of her little peanut. Morgan wondered if her dream had any merit, and if she would be having a daughter. She had had many friends give birth before, and all of them had had gender dreams, so she told herself that they would know eventually and let it drop.

  Placing the photo in her bag, she turned when she heard footsteps entering the room, and froze.

  Ahmed and Almera stood there in their colorful Middle-Eastern clothing, staring at her.

  She stared back at them, not at all sure what to say, when Almera walked over and threw her arms around Morgan, crying into her shoulder.

  “It’s all right,” Morgan said, patting Almera’s back. What were
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